By Allen Melton, CEVA Logistics While global energy prices have fluctuated wildly over the past few years, you might be surprised to know that the energy services sector today is not all about price. For example, energy providers are looking for more than the cheapest offering from a contract shipping provider. They are looking for expertise from a trusted partner. CEVA’s industry energy sector business model focuses on E&P companies, offshore drillers, oil service providers, onshore fracking, mining operations and large-scale renewable energy projects. Regardless of the client, the one common business challenge they all face is an unrelenting pressure on their supply chain. It is imperative that logistics providers focus attention on service and partnership. Instead of concentrating solely on delivering customers’ equipment from point A to point B, energy clients must begin to see logistics providers as a comprehensive value-add, delivering knowledge and expertise that address their most complicated business needs. As the hyper-competitive global landscape continues to shift, energy companies are modifying their logistics priorities from optimum price offering to most robust global footprint. Translation: a logistics provider’s presence, global network, compliance capabilities, operational efficiency and subject area expertise are the true differentiators in the market. To maintain a leading market reputation, logistics providers must ensure quality control at each of our partner operations around the globe. Vetting foreign partners and ensuring a common standard of excellence means an investment of both time and money. However, it is an investment that pays dividends as energy companies increasingly rely on our capabilities to handle their most sensitive operations. Take oil and gas exploration for example. The growing distances of offshore, deepwater drilling and the remoteness of many production operations present a number of daunting operational and logistical challenges. Success in this environment means having a unified, marketable and efficient global footprint allowing you to meet any need, anywhere in the world. Here in the U.S., logistics providers need to shift their product mix to focus more on domestic transportation to help facilitate the shale revolution currently sweeping the nation. When it comes to the shale plays, drillers and oilfield service providers are looking for partners with a full suite of options. Instead of working with dozens of contractors, companies are opting for one-stop shops that can provide end-to-end services such as demand management, imports, transport optimization, just-in-time delivery and freight billing settlement. Across the globe—and right here at home—the logistics industry must refocus our efforts and capabilities to provide turnkey solutions for clients that highlight our expertise as well as our supply chain capabilities. Providing energy customers with a strong network of reliable partners, seamless systems integration and comprehensive transportation support is critical for success in today’s market. The barometer of success for global logistics providers lies in tender management, global trade and international compliance. Energy companies also understand that maintaining profitability means finding partners who are skilled and easy to work with. Clearly, 21st century logistics is more than simple supply chain management. The marketplace is learning that logistics providers that have the skills, experience and expertise to solve the most challenging energy problems are well positioned to establish successful, long-term partnerships. Allen Melton serves as CEVA’s vice president of energy for the Americas and is based in Houston.